- For Attorneys
Generally, the obligation to pay child support ends when a child finishes high school, reaches 18 years of age, whichever is later, or becomes married or a member of the armed forces.
The applicable New Hampshire statutes are as follows:
I. After the filing of a petition for divorce, annulment, separation,
paternity, support, or allocation of parental rights and
responsibilities, including petitions filed by the department of health
and human services pursuant to RSA 161-B, 161-C, and 546-B, the court
shall make such further decree in relation to the support and education
of the children as shall be most conducive to their benefit and may order
a reasonable provision for their support and education for the period of
time specified in paragraphs IV, V, and XVI.
II. In any proceeding concerning the support of children:
(a) The parties shall certify in the initial pleading filed with the
court whether or not public assistance is or was paid for the benefit of
the children pursuant to RSA 167 and whether or not medical assistance is
being provided for the benefit of the children pursuant to RSA 167. If
public assistance is or was being provided or if medical assistance is
being provided, the initiating party shall provide the department of
health and human services, office of child support enforcement services,
with copies of any and all pleadings related to medical and child
(b) If, during the pendency of the action, the children become the
beneficiaries of public or medical assistance, both parties shall notify
the court of the public or medical assistance status of the children and
shall provide the department of health and human services with copies of
all pleadings related to medical and child support.
(c) When notified that public or medical assistance is being provided
for the benefit of the children, the court shall provide the office of
child support with a copy of any hearing notice pertaining to any medical
or child support proceeding.
(d) The department shall be granted leave to reopen any case to
modify, clarify, or vacate any order that was entered against its
interest when an assignment of rights pursuant to RSA 161 or RSA 167 is
or was in effect and the department was not given notice of the
(e) In any case to establish, modify, or enforce an order of support
where the obligor is unable to meet child support obligations for any
reason, except as provided in RSA 461-A:14, XIII(a) and (b), the court
may order the obligor to apply for and, if qualified, participate in food
stamp and Medicaid programs, federal disability programs, and all
applicable department of employment security programs to enable or enhance
the obligor's ability to meet his or her support obligations. When making
such orders, the court shall include the requirement that the obligor
report to the court his or her compliance with the order.
III. All support orders shall provide for the assignment of the wages
of the responsible parent pursuant to RSA 458-B, subject to the
exceptions listed in RSA 458-B:2.
IV. The amount of a child support obligation shall remain as stated in
the order until all dependent children for whom support is ordered shall
terminate their high school education or reach the age of 18 years,
whichever is later, or become married, or become a member of the armed
services, at which time the child support obligation, including all
educational support obligations, terminates without further legal
action. This amount shall remain as specified unless a legal order
expressly allocates the payments on a per child basis. If the order
involves a disabled child, the court shall specify the duration of the
order, which may be beyond the time when the child reaches the age of
V. No child support order shall require a parent to contribute to an
adult child's college expenses or other educational expenses beyond the
completion of high school.
VI. All support payments ordered or administered by the court under
this chapter shall be deemed judgments when due and payable. Such
judgments shall be given full faith and credit by all jurisdictions of
VII. Liens shall arise by operation of law against real and personal
property for child support arrearages owed by an obligor who resides or
owns property in the state and shall incorporate any unpaid child support
which may accrue in the future. Full faith and credit shall be given to
such liens arising in another state when the state agency, a party, or
other entity authorized to enforce an order of support and seeking to
perfect the lien complies with the procedural rules relating to recording
or serving liens. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, such rules may
not require judicial notice prior to perfecting the lien. Notices of such
liens, and any discharges or releases thereof, shall be filed in the
office of the secretary of state with respect to personal property and in
the registry of deeds for the county in which any real property is
located. No fees shall be charged for such filings and recordings.
VIII. No modification of a support order shall alter any arrearages due
prior to the date of filing the motion for modification.
IX. (a) Each child support order shall include the court's
determination and findings relative to health insurance and the payment
of uninsured medical expenses for the children.
(b) If the court determines that private health insurance is accessible
and available at a reasonable cost, the court shall order the parent, or
parents, to provide such insurance for the children. Accessible health
insurance means the primary care services are located within 50 miles or
one hour from the child's primary residence. Health insurance shall be
available at a reasonable cost if the cost of such insurance does not
exceed 5 percent of the responsible parent's individual net income under
RSA 458-C:2, VI-a.
(c) If the court determines that private health insurance is not
accessible or available at a reasonable cost, the court shall establish a
cash medical support obligation, calculated in accordance with RSA 458-C:3, V, and order that either or both parents shall obtain such private health
insurance if it subsequently becomes accessible and available at a
reasonable cost. When ordered in lieu of private health insurance, an
obligation for cash medical support shall be suspended and shall not
accrue during such time as the obligated parent is providing private
health insurance in accordance with this paragraph.
(d) In all cases where support is payable through the department, or
where the department is providing medical assistance for the child under
RSA 167, the court shall include the medical support obligation in any
order issued on or after the effective date of this paragraph.
(e) A court may order either or both parents to pay a medical support
obligation, either to provide health insurance coverage or as cash medical
support, in excess of reasonable cost, in such other circumstances, as the
court deems appropriate.
X. If both parents have coverage which provides medical insurance
benefits for the child, the insurance of the person who is obligated by
court order to provide medical insurance shall be the primary coverage
for the child. This paragraph shall not affect the obligation of the
insurance carrier of the parent who is not obligated to provide medical
insurance for the child to provide medical insurance benefits for any
claim under a policy held by such parent.
XI. All support orders issued or modified in cases that are payable
through the department shall contain a provision requiring the obligor to
keep the department informed of the name and address of the obligor's
employer and whether the obligor has access to health insurance, and, if
so, the health insurance policy information as requested by the
XII. In any proceeding to enforce the payment of child support, the
posting of bail shall be for the purpose of securing the appearance of the
child support obligor and to guarantee the child support judgment owed by
the child support obligor. If a child support obligor defaults for
failure to appear or owes a child support arrearage, any bail money
posted by the obligor, or any other surety, which is on deposit with the
court shall be forfeited and paid to the obligee or the agency enforcing
the order for child support in satisfaction of the child support
XIII. (a) An order of support, for which there is in effect an
assignment to the department of health and human services pursuant to RSA
161-C:22, shall be suspended and shall not accrue, and no public
assistance debt shall be incurred, during such time as the responsible
parent receives benefits pursuant to Title XVI of the Social Security Act
under the supplemental security income program or public assistance
pursuant to RSA 167 under any of the following programs:
(1) Aid to the permanently and totally disabled.
(2) Aid to the needy blind.
(3) Aid to families with dependent children.
(4) Old age assistance.
(b) The department shall not enforce any order of support against: the
responsible parent while that parent receives public assistance through
any of the programs listed in subparagraph (a), whether or not an
assignment of support rights to the department exists.
XIV. When the court makes a temporary or final order for support
through the department of health and human services, the order shall
require the parties to furnish their social security numbers to the
XV. The court shall have jurisdiction to make such orders or temporary
orders of support to the children of divorced parents as justice shall
require in cases where the decree of divorce was not granted in this
jurisdiction, even though the divorce decree makes provision for
support, subject to the provisions of RSA 546-B.
XVI. The court may establish a separate fund or trust for the support,
maintenance, education and general welfare of any minor or incompetent
child of the parties, including an incompetent child who is 18 years of
age or older.
XVII. The court may require security to be given for the payment of
XVIII. Any motion for contempt of a court order regarding nonpayment of
child support, if filed by a parent, shall be reviewed by the court
within 30 days.